March 7, 2014
I’ve been an occasional customer at the Yummy House outpost in Owajimaya but had never tried the actual bakery (located right across the street). Billing itself as a Hong Kong style bakery specializing in cakes, buns, and pastries, Yummy House prides itself on not being overly sweet.
I found the atmosphere and service to be a tad unwelcoming but I bought a cream puff and a fruit boat. The cream puff was nothing to write home about. I understand they purposely don’t use too much sugar, but the pastry was dangerously close to cardboard. The fruit boat, on the other hard, was lovely.
It was freshly made, with a very short crust and rich cream filling. It’s odd having the melon ball and grape as part of the tart, but I think they work. So, I’d recommend getting a fresh fruit boat, but overall I think there are better bakeries in the International District.
February 7, 2014
It’s always ice cream season in Seattle nowadays, although I admit the Jan-Feb stretch is pushing it a bit. But I happened to be near Parfait in Ballard and wanted to stop by because I never seem to catch their ice cream truck. Their parlor is light, spacious, and welcoming:
Parfait believes in high-quality, local ingredients and balances tried-and-true flavors with more experimental varieties. I had butter toffee crunch (they make their own toffee) but was intrigued by flavors like Cinnamon Stick and Pumpkin Pie. In addition, they had some interesting frozen creations that went beyond simple ice cream:
If you can’t tell from the photo, those are homemade push pops and gourmet ice cream sandwiches. I wish we had this ice cream truck when I was a kid!
January 24, 2014
Located in North Queen Anne on a busy road in a rather post-industrial area is the decidedly neighborhood-y Byen Bakery. With a cozy atmosphere, enough seating, and a heavenly smell, Byen is a good place to linger over coffee and a pastry. And there are plenty to choose from – Byen takes its flour and butter very seriously.
I knew that in a Scandinavian bakery, one should get the Kringle – a pretzel-shaped pastry with a sweet, flakey interior. To be honest, they aren’t my favorite and I didn’t love this one because of the marzipan (which I dislike). But to be fair to the bakery, and because I couldn’t resist, I tried the pecan cinnamon roll as well.
As you can see (it’s the one on the right – the one on the left is a slice of kringle), it’s everything a cinnamon pecan bun should be – sticky, lots of surface area, and nutty. I heated it in the microwave and tore into it with extremely positive results. Yeasty, but not too elastic-y with a strong cinnamon flavor, this was a clear winner, as was the loaf of Apple Bread I walked away with:
The icing on the top was the right degree of saltiness and the loaf wasn’t overly apple-y. Again, it did better after a zap in the microwave, and provided perfect slices of heaven for breakfast (also works with some ice cream for dessert). This place almost makes me wish I lived in this non-neighborhood!
December 12, 2013
To be honest, cannoli have never been high on my list of preferred desserts (I’ve never been a huge fan of creamy centers in general). So I wasn’t super psyched to try Holy Cannoli in Belltown. But, since I am extremely dedicated to trying every bakery in Seattle, I took a morning to check out the spot.
The nice thing about coming to Belltown in the morning is that you can actually park, and I pretty much had the store to myself. I was impressed at the variety of cannoli, but sad that I was there too early to sample a stromboli. I ended up choosing three cannoli to go.
From left to right, that’s maple-pecan, traditional (vanilla cream with chocolate and cinnamon), and coconut. I was pleasantly surprised by the soft, delicate shell (not brittle or chewy), and light, airy filling. The coconut was my favorite, but my only regret was just getting three. Holy Cannoli has me singing the praises of cannoli… who would have thought?
November 10, 2013
I had driven past this cute, old-timey cafe/bakery a few times and wondered about it (used to be called the Sunflour Cafe), so I popped in last weekend for breakfast. It was warm and sunny enough to eat outside, and I got to sit and watch the world go by while sipping my Americano and working my way through French toast (which they make using their own homemade bread).
Bread was good but the French toast could have been a little more crispy, and should be served with real, good-quality maple syrup (that’s the east-coaster in me, since Seattle-ites seem fine with maple-flavored corn syrup). I was much more impressed with the caramel pecan roll, which was the size of a small satellite dish:
I saved it until the next day, heated it, and fell in love. Surprisingly, the dough was not as sugary as these rolls usually are, but the caramel topping served as a nice complement. The texture was lovely – doughy, buttery, chewy, without approaching Cinnabon levels of grease. The flavors were complex, not overpowering, and the pecans had a nice crunch. Overall, bravo to the bakery, pass on the restaurant.
October 30, 2013
The best thing about working on a blog like this is going to places like Le Reve. A French bakery in Queen Anne, Reve feels authentic and tastes like France (that is, it tastes like butter). Serving a variety of pastries, desserts, and breakfast & lunch sandwiches, Reve is that café I’d be at every weekend if I lived in the neighborhood. And maybe it’s a good thing I don’t, because there are only so many calories in a day.
I started out with the Croque Monsieur, served on a French baguette so fresh the shards of crust cut the roof of your mouth. Ahhh France. Next I moved on to dessert. Based off Yelp reviews I got the kouign amann – an extremely buttery muffin-shaped pastry with a crispy coating. Hard to describe this treat but you have to try it here or at Crumble and Flake in Cap Hill.
Also on my menu were the flourless chocolate cake (not overly dense but certainly substantial and very richly flavored), and a raspberry Mogador (the round ball pictured above). I had never had one of these before – basically a chocolate crust with a ball of chocolate mousse with a chocolate raspberry shell. Lighter than the cake, it had that raspberry chocolate combination that to me is always the king of desserts. J’aime Le Reve… (did I spell that right??).
August 4, 2013
The Ballard Farmers Market is one of my favorites. Veraci Pizza, mini-donuts, and plenty of amazing produce. Not to mention my two dessert stops last week: Pete’s Perfect Toffee and Deborah’s Pies. Pete’s Toffee was indeed perfect – and I have a very high standard for toffee.
There were quite a few flavors to choose from, including spicy chili, coconut, and espresso, but I went with the – you guessed it – dark chocolate. Rich, a little salty, crunchy, buttery, and ohhhh just perfect. He also sells containers of crumbled toffee, perfect for an ice cream topping.
Second stop was Deborah’s Homemade Pies. I went straight for the strawberry rhubarb mini-pie, which I took home, warmed up, and ate with ice cream…
Loved it!! Crust was buttery deliciousness and the filling was tart (the way rhubarb should be!) but perfect with the ice cream. They had all kinds of pies, in several of different sizes. I’d go back to try a peach pie!